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Hypnotic Interrogation, Pretrial Preparation, and Witness Testimony During Direct and Cross-examination

NCJ Number
Law and Human Behavior Volume: 15 Issue: 6 Dated: (1991) Pages: 639-653
N P Spanos; C A Quigley; M I Gwynn; R L Glatt; A H Perlini
Date Published
15 pages
Subjects who witnessed a videotaped shooting were interrogated immediately after viewing the film and several days later.
Before their second interrogation half of the subjects received hypnotic suggestions for enhanced recognition. Hypnotic and nonhypnotic subjects failed to differ in the accuracy with which they identified a mugshot of the offender, but hypnotic subjects placed more confidence in their misidentifications than did nonhypnotic subjects. In a third session, subjects who had identified a mugshot returned to be examined and cross-examined in a mock courtroom setting. Before direct examination, half the subjects underwent pretrial preparation aimed at building confidence. When coupled with pretrial preparation, hypnotic interrogation led subjects to express relative certainty in their mugshot identification while testifying. Nevertheless, hypnotic interrogation did not deter witnesses from disavowing their testimony (i.e., breakdown) during cross-examination. In contrast, pretrial preparation induced substantial resistance to breakdown during cross-examination. Implications are discussed. (Author abstract)